Excited! That is how you feel when your website is done and ready for launch. You cannot wait for the world to see what you have to offer. Your design is awesome; you have great content and so much useful information to keep your visitors engaged.
However, you should be aware that there are lots of things that can still go wrong. To avoid disappointing your visitors and losing credibility, here are a few essential tests you must carry out before sharing your website.
1. Browser Compatibility
There are multiple browsers available, and there are also different versions of each of these browsers. Never assume that users will be visiting with the most current version of their browser, or the actual browser you tested your website with. A website that displays incorrectly or choppy on one browser may display correctly on another. This is not because there is any problem with the site, but it is possible that one browser is simply more compatible than others. That being said, a website that does not display properly for certain users will have its usability and functionality affected. These are actually two factors that determine user experience, which in turn can affect your website page ranking. How can you prevent this? Test for browser compatibility, especially for desktop devices. Luckily, there are resources on the internet that you can use to test that your website is compatible across multiple browsers. Some of the common browsers you should test for are Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari.
2. Mobile Responsiveness
In 2016, search engine giant Google added mobile responsiveness as one of the factors that determines how their search engine ranks websites;this means that if your website is not optimized for mobile, your website will not rank high for mobile search results. This is important as there are more mobile users consuming internet content than there are desktop users.
Emphasizing the importance of website being optimized for mobile, Brendan from Discount Domain says, “Today’s internet users are always on the go. We definitely had this in mind when developing https://www.discountdomains.co.nz, so we designed it to be mobile responsive. It is important that visitors be able to reach you on their mobile devices. If they can’t, most will take their business elsewhere.”
Testing for mobile responsiveness will show you if your website is mobile-optimized. A website that is optimized for mobile will display fully on all mobile devices without complications. In other words, your website should look as good on mobile as it does on a desktop.
A mobile responsiveness test will answer the following questions:
- Is your website compatible with multiple mobile devices, regardless of screen size?
- Is your website’s content easy to read and understand?
- Is it easy to navigate your website?
There are several options to test your website for mobile responsiveness; one of them is the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. This tool checks websites for mobile responsiveness and shows any compatibility issues. You can also try a nifty free tool called mobiReady which will simulate a mobile display of your website.
3. Test for Speed
Some studies reveal that a major reason visitors abandon websites is because of poor page load speed. The standard for load time on any website is 4 seconds, and if yours takes more than that to load, you are likely to lose visitors. It is therefore vital that your website is fast enough to meet your users’ expectations; this will improve your website’s user experience and improve your pagerank. A slow site is a turn off for many users.
Test for speed is a vitall test that should be carried out before your website is published. This way, if your website is not fast enough, you can decide to optimize further or troubleshoot. Fortunately, there are resources that you can use to measure your website’s page load speed. One of such resources is Google’s Page Insights, which measures your website for speed and also makes optimization suggestions if you have a low score.
4. Search Engine Optimization Test
To enjoy visibility on the internet, your SEO game must be top notch. A good SEO system will increase your page ranking and the amount of traffic it attracts. The following points are important for SEO compatibility.
- Keywords: Keywords are what visitors use to search for the type of content you provide; therefore you need to use the right keywords to ensure that your content shows up when people use related keywords or a keyword combination in organic search.
- XML Sitemaps/HTML Sitemaps: Sitemaps help search engines and human visitors understand the structure of your website. It is what points these visitors to the content they are searching for. Ensure that your website has both HTML and XML sitemaps installed. HTML sitemaps are for human visitors while XML sitemaps are for search engines.
It is also a good idea to have some form of analytics tools to help you measure the success of your SEO efforts. This will let you know if there are areas you need to work on and highlight areas where your SEO is generating high returns
5. Link testing
One aspect of your website that can discourage visitors are broken links. Most website owners are not aware that certain links on their websites are broken or lead to the wrong page. It is therefore important that you run a test for link accuracy to ensure that all your links lead to the expected pages. When all your links are working fine, better user experience is ensured.
If you have a very small website with only a few links, you can check for broken links manually by clicking on the links and visiting the individual pages to verify that the page they lead to actually exists. On the flip side, if you have a very large website with numerous links, you will need an automated process to conduct the checks. Luckily, there are tools on the internet that can be used for link checking. You can use Broken link check which is a free online link checker that combs through the whole of your website for broken links. Another awesome tool is W3C Link Checker which gives you the location of broken and invalid links, 404 errors and makes suggestions on how to correct these errors.
Your website is truly awesome only if your visitors think and say so. Their experience while navigating through it is what determines that. While it is important to get all the technicalities involved in website design and development right, failure to provide great user experience may render all that effort wasted. The above-mentioned tests will ensure that the user experience is top notch, resulting in higher conversions.
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While always deeply interested in technology since childhood, Nicholas has been involved in web development in a professional capacity since 2012, as both a front-end developer and project manager.